Skip to main content Skip to main content

Art Through Time: A Global View

Domestic Life Compare: How Can a Way of Life Influence a Culture’s Artistic Forms?

Bag (taghrek)

Bag (taghrek)
Artist / Origin: Andi Ouhoulou (Tuareg, Kel Ewey, n.d.), Agadez, Niger
Region: Africa
Date: 2004
Period: 1900 CE – 2010 CE
Material: Leather, pigment, metal
Medium: Textiles and Fiber Arts
Dimensions: H: 40 in. (102 cm.), W: 24 in. (61 cm.), D: 2 in. (5.1 cm.)
Location: Private Collection
Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Seligman, Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Tent Door Cover (ensi)

Tent Door Cover (ensi)
Artist / Origin: Turkmen (Turkoman) artist
Region: Russia, Central and North Asia
Date: 19th century
Period: 1800 CE – 1900 CE
Material: Wool
Medium: Textiles and Fiber Arts
Dimensions: H: approx. 52 in. (132 cm.), W: approx. 60 in. (152 cm.)
Location: De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Credit: Courtesy of De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of George and Marie Hecksher

How can a way of life influence a culture’s artistic forms?

Nomadic lifestyles call for domestic objects that are first and foremost portable and functional. Nonetheless, many nomadic and semi-nomadic people take great care in making and embellishing these items. Works created by the Turkmen of Central Asia or the Tuareg of Saharan Africa offer a less familiar perspective from which to think about the role of art in everyday life.

Questions to Consider

  • How might these items reflect the demands of the environments in which they were produced and the material resources available to their makers?
  • These works meet the requirements of the nomadic lifestyle in being portable and functional. But they are also beautiful. What are some of the reasons that so much attention might have been lavished on their aesthetic aspect?
  • In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, many nomadic groups have become or are becoming sedentary, meaning that they have adopted lifestyles based on permanent residence. How might these circumstances impact the creation of objects like these?

Series Directory

Art Through Time: A Global View


Produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG. 2009.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-888-2